In what is increasingly looking like a flailing effort to win the 2016 GOP nomination, within a 24 hour period former front runner Jeb Bush went from thundering “We’re Americans, dammit!” in a stump speech, to surrendering to France for comments he made about the country’s work ethic.
Accused of French-bashing, the Republican presidential hopeful Jeb Bush apologized this week for making fun of France’s work ethic, saying he was sorry for insulting America’s oldest ally.
As the New York Times reports, the apology was somewhat tongue in cheek, ‘“I made the mistake of saying that the Congress operates on a French workweek,” Mr. Bush, with jovial flourish, said in his apology. “I really did a disservice to the French.”’ However, that didn’t stop news outlet after news outlet – perhaps smelling blood dripping from Bush’s beaten down campaign – from reporting the comments straight as effectively a surrender.
The apology was for his questioning of Marco Rubio on his Senate attendance record, “I mean, literally, the Senate, what is it, like a French workweek? You get like three days where you have to show up?” said Bush, in confronting Rubio in with a now infamously misguided and failed attack.
The beleaguered Bush took criticism from high and low for the initial crack.
The assault, a seemingly well-rehearsed line that fell flat both at home and in France, stirred a backlash, with more than a few irate French people taking to social media to mock Mr. Bush’s lack of diplomacy. Moreover, some critics, including France’s ambassador to Washington, Gérard Araud, noted that Mr. Bush had muddled his facts.
“A French work week of 3 days? No but a pregnancy paid leave of 16 weeks yes! And proud of it,” Mr. Araud wrote on Twitter, with Gallic defiance.
Araud was gracious in accepting the apology, which may be little comfort to Jeb, who has now taken to admitting criticism from his former President father sends him into a deep depression.
“I now know that the average French workweek is actually greater than the German workweek,” Mr. Bush said in his apology. “So, my God, I totally insulted an entire country — our first ally, that helped us become free as a nation. And I apologize.”
Mr. Araud, for his part, appeared willing to accept the apology, called a mea culpa by Le Monde, the French newspaper.
“Everything is forgotten and forgiven,” Mr. Araud wrote on Twitter, adding, “Errare humanum.”
Jeb’s comments about her dad were reported by the Washington Post, which compared his new comeback tour to a “therapy session.”
… after a child asked what it was like to grow up the son of a president, Bush told a room full of kids that his father’s approval weighed on him. “All he had to do was say, ‘I’m disappointed in you,’ and it would send me in a deep, spiraling depression,” he said.
From defiant American, to surrendering to France – to upbeat political pitchman become depressed schoolboy – Jeb Bush’s presidential campaign is now quite literally bouncing all over the place in an almost painful to watch process while trying to regain a footing in the race.